Background The Care Quality Commission report ‘A different ending: addressing inequalities in end of life care’ (2016) highlighted that homeless people with end of life care needs experience considerable barriers accessing palliative care. Mary Stevens Hospice developed a workshop for hostel workers, West Midlands Police, and Dudley Metropolitan, focused on palliative and end of life care.
Aim Develop relationship with hostel and other organisations, allowing better choice and access for people experiencing homelessness requiring palliative care support. One of the workshop’s objectives was to recognise barriers homeless people experience in accessing palliative care and identify training needs for non-health care workers, with consideration of developing equitable pathways into hospice services.
Community engagement with statutory and voluntary organisations, identifying ways of integrating services and up–skilling non health care professionals;
Develop partnerships and collaboration to better support people experiencing homelessness;
Pilot education day facilitated.
Results Fourteen people attended the workshop, including community police, hostel support staff and outreach workers. Hospice received first referral and people signposted to services. A Dying Matters event recorded and filmed the stories, experiences, and wishes of homeless people relevant to death, dying and bereavement. The workshop is being developed and adapted to deliver across hostels and refuges Autumn 2019. Hostel staff recognised five persons whose health a cause for concern. Police and hostel manager visited hospice, now planning hospice and hostel open days. A referrals and signposting database was implemented and workshop feedback evaluated.
Conclusion Attendees reported increased confidence having early, courageous conversations, discussing end of life concerns and priorities. There was recognition of the value of communities working together to better support homeless people approaching end of life. The workshop highlighted a lack of pathway for homeless people accessing services and a continuation of partnerships, nurturing relations between organisations is necessary to working toward removing barriers to palliative care.
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